North Korea remains a high risk area because of the country’s continued willingness to undertake provocative and destabilising behaviour, its pursuit of nuclear weapons and long-range ballistic missiles, and its willingness to proliferate weapons in contravention of United Nations Security Council Resolutions.
Kim Jong Un’s true intentions remain opaque, and he has shown signs of wanting to reduce the influence of the military so that he can devote more of the North’s limited resources towards the civilian sector and reform the economy. However, he faces powerfully vested interests that favour preserving the status quo. Kim will thus be forced to retain a tough policy towards the South. However, in doing so he could risk losing an opportunity to improve inter-Korean relations.